Sizing Up Christmas–In Advance

The news came out in a press release from ShopperTrak this weekend:

CHICAGO – Nov. 28, 2015ShopperTrak, the leading global provider of consumer behavior insights and location-based analytics, today released its preliminary sales estimate for brick-and-mortar retail on Thanksgiving Day (11/26/15) and Black Friday (11/27/15). The two dates accumulated a projected $12.1 billion in combined sales, which is an estimated decrease versus 2014.

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Coping: The Myopic Idiocy of Climate Change Hype

I believe “Science” has gotten climate change stupendously wrong.  And I’d like to thank a Washington Post story for making it so easy to dispute climate change claims.

I wasn’t planning to present a major discussion of the silly climate change meetings getting underway today, but time has come to lay out a much more precise (and scientific) point of view.

The guts of this were laid out in Peoplenomics in “The Scariest Holiday – Ever” a month ago.

The WaPo Ocean Boulders Story:  Academic Absurdity

The Washington Post story “That’s heavy: climate-change warnings include rising seas and wild weather shifts. But giant flying boulders?” details some massive rocks on the otherwise mostly flat southern Bahamas Island of Eleuthera.

Among the alarmist claims is that 1,000 ton boulders like those in the Bahamas could come from climate change.  Whips up the ocean and mega-storms and all that.

Well, it’s a clever half-truth.

Yes the boulders are there, but probably not from Climate Change as hyped.

The first problem is that the assertion is that 2-million pound rocks could be washed up on the Bahamas by “mega-storms” resulting from climate change.  Kids like me from a fire department upbringing know a thing, or three, about water’s coefficient of friction.

While I don’t fault the scientists involved for taking their research in a direction of loose budgets to scare the daylights out of people (and stampede the whole world into global government complete with global climate taxes) the facts of the matter are considerably different than climate fear-mongers would care to let on.

Want to go to school for a few minutes?

S.V. Clube, William Napier, and www.dtic.mil

Unfortunately for climate adherents, we have very good evidence as to what causes global warming and periodic catastrophic cooling.  However, to arrive at the source, we need to adopt an interdisciplinary approach which (no surprise here) is lacking in climate research.

A short comment on the evolution of science is important:  When initial discoveries are made, they are equivalent (as in geometry) to individual points.  Not that these aren’t useful when science is young, but the more points, the better.

Recall that (again referring to geometry) two points make a line which allows us to project things.  Extensibility is a fine thing.  but lines are limiting.

Three points define a plane and four points define an object.

Science has not moved beyond points and lines in many areas, and you’ll see this in a few moments when I introduce you to object-oriented thinking.

Dot, line, and planar thinking characterizes where most science lives in today’s world.

Now to DTIC:  This is the Defense Technical Information Center.

One reason the U.S.

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Functions of War: Iron Mountain II (pt. 1)

If you like conspiracy thinking, and you have not yet read the complete book “Report from Iron Mountain (on the accessibility and desirability of Peace)” you really need to Google it or pick up a copy from a bookseller.

Although there has been much conversation in the public press about how this 1967 book published by Dial Press was likely a farce on the Vietnam War and the whole “war gaming mindset” we continue to extract huge swaths of meaning from the book in such diverse realms as computer programming and logical approaches to “unthinkable” problems.

Hence, this morning we tackle the first parts of Report from Iron Mountain with an eye not toward what is held by the crowd to be just a “farce.”

Because, as you’ll see as this series unfolds, when you look at the books “Substitutes for War” one topic – distinctly missing in 1967 – is terrorism.

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Little News, Boring Markets

The news flow generally sucks, and since we did a column on Thursday, not much has happened. Turkey is still trying to figure out how to be a rah-rah NATO member and shoot down Russian aircraft while secretly buying oil from ISIS. That scored a “Who?

Coping: Notes from Ure Shopping Teacher

The combination of high-potency vitamins, elderberry pills, sleep, and what-have-you, has finally begun  to work its magic…we are starting to feel a bit better this morning.

So much so that I will probably get around to doing my “Shopping Matrix” this afternoon and laying in a few goodies.

The process begins with a cup of coffee (got i`t!) and a reflective moment such as the one we’re having now.  It’s sort of like a guided meditation except it applies to the outer, rather than inner, world.

The first question to ask is…

1.  What do I have?

Story time:  I did this on Sunday in the palatial offices of UrbanSurvival and Peoplenomics, 

My “super-computer” had stopped booting from the big SSD and – for a frustrating half-hour – I contemplated buying another Super Computer to replace the existing one.

If you look through your possessions in life, what you will often find is that a good portion of spending is due to the existing item you have not working as well as it should.

In my case, ripping the computer apart was all that was needed.  I discovered that the SSD’s SATA cable to the motherboard had somehow worked loose (or I hadn’t seated it right the first time) but whatever the cause, the machine is back to smoking-fast speed.

I saved $2,300 on the spot.

This is the most important part of the Zen of Shopping – and it’s the one that many people fail at:

They have something. 

It develops a perceived flaw.

Instead of repair, they REPLACE and there goes the money.  Double-time.

2.  Make a Repair List Before a Shopping List

The UrbanSurvival Office (which was written up at the Perfect Home Office) was a design project done on the Peoplenomics side several years back.  (Subscriber note:  See “Building the Perfect Home Office”  Peoplenomics #258, Sept. 17, 2006 here)

There are several “workstations” in my perfect office. Writing position, two radio positions, electronics position, filing section, treadmill, tool cart….etc.

The computer system – which occupies one position – has been relatively economical because I have focused on repairing and upgrading rather than throw oodles of money at various problems.

On the computer system, for example, there are three 28-inch flat screens and a 37-inch screen.

A year, or so, back when the power supply on one of the 28-inch monitors failed, I bought power supply repair kits and installed them.  At $200 each, the cost of replacement would have been well over $600.  But three power supply repair kits cost me $45 plus the fun of replacing the old failing capacitors in the power supplies.  (Wrote about this in mid 2014 here)

Same thing for the tower itself.  It is fast, full of RAM, but when the main hard drive approached mean time between failure at the three-year mark, rather than buy a new computer ($2,300 for a screaming gaming machine with four video outs, I simply installed a 500 GB SSD and kept the old drive in a power-managed secondary position.

Moving on to the ham radio part of my office (yes, I do listen a lot on 40/80 meters to hear what people are talking about!) I look over my equipment with the same attitude.

When I look at my 2000 watt linear amplifier, I think to myself “Gosh, wouldn’t a new QRO HF-3KDX look better sitting there?”

Unfortunately, while the QRO amplifier would be a major upgrade, the fact is that there are only a few problems with the old amplifier that need to be fixed to put my old amplifier “perfect” again.

I already have the Harbach Electronics  capacitor replacement kit awaiting installation. 

And a fresh set of 3-500Z’s can be found from K5SVC for under $400 on eBay.

After looking at the existing amplifier, it dawned on Mr.

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Happy Turkey!

Markets in the US are closed until tomorrow – which is traditionally called National Call Your Broker Day.

Of course, that was back before we were beggared and poor as a country.

The usual headlines are about:  Retailers are hoping against rising bills at home that this will be a Big One

The big mover in Asia was Japan, up half a percent – hardly notable.   In Europe, Germany and France are up over one percent each.  The Kneeler:Land (where Pilgrims escaped from to come to the US) is up 3/4th’s of one percent.  Probably glad to be reminded they got rid of us…and maybe they’re right… we’ll see.

In other business news, we note how Philippines posts 6 pct economic growth in Q3.

Want to know why?

You sure?

OK:  It’s because of all the customer service jobs being sucked up there.

If you deal with a company that is “nominally” US-based, and you speak to some who calls you something like “Mr. George” – hang up, call the US HQ of said company and ask to speak to someone who is a citizen (green card or naturalized only, thank you.)

Otherwise, we will see EVEN MORE of our country’s jobs being shipped off.

This has got to become a social movement:  If the money is spent in the US can we keep the economic benefit here that should accrue with that?

Is there anything else I can do for you today, Mr. George?

Well…now that you mention it…

A group thank-you to people in police, fire, medical, and retail who are working today…

Thinking About Headlines

I’m snarfier than usual with my cold….so try some of these on:  (Fair warning – you may not like my views)…

Chicago releases new videos from scene of Laquan McDonald’s shooting

This informs us that Chicago really is working hard to promote racial divisions and conflict.  And since ChiTown is run by former Obamster Rahm What’sHis…why are we surprised? 

And the dimwitted media are promoting it as much as possible to further fan divisions…because that’s good for RupeRev and good for ratings…but shoot-darn, let’s recycle a 13-month old story, shall we?

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Coping: Dealing With Black Friday and NBoD MAGIC

Black Friday or January?

That is the main driver to get out of bed at 4 AM on a holiday morning and take up the keyboard.

Which date-range offers better deals?

Today is when we can see the ultimate in monetization of a holiday…

A quick Google search reveals an almost unlimited number of websites that have capitalized on the term “black Friday.”  A sample Google search is here.

The way this works is very simple.

1.  You get as domain name which has the term blackfriday buried in it somewhere.

2.  You sign up for as many affiliate marketing programs as you can.

3.  You write enough 500-word articles to optimize the hell out of things so you get some web traffic.

4.  Then you load your site up with Amazon and whoever else you’ve signed up with.

When people come to your site today…and click on a link…it sets a cookie which means any sales that happen are credited to your account.

And (so goes the dream) you become an internet gazillionaire.

To be sure, a few sites will do pretty well…but the revenue stream gets pretty close to dead the rest of the year.  I, for one, hate lumpy revenue models because they are harder to budget around.

As to our actual spending plans?

Easy-peasy:  We will be sending out checks this year (from the National Bank of Dad).

Each will be accompanied by a monograph on how Black Friday is a retailer scam to get people to buy things that are fairly useless.

That report will explain that most things will be found on sale in January or February and will extoll the virtues of refurbished items.

Sure, it would be fun to have a fiber internet link, a 32 GB 8-core processors at 4.4 GHZ and terabyte graphics drivers and 73-inch monitors.

But to play CandyCrush?  Are you serious?

Still, we understand how people work, so here’s our own contribute to BFAOD (Black Friday Ad Overdose):

Usually, around the Thanksgiving table (which we are foregoing for a week or two) there is much discussion about how my “check and think about it” approach shows what a cold-hearted person I really am.

After I point out this is exactly the kind of thing that pays the most in the business world, I report that in going on 409-years of check-writing, I have never had one returned as defective and everyone is pleased to get them.

Here is this year’s Disbursement Letter:

Dear National Bank of Dad  (NBoD) Customer:

Seasonal Adjustments!  The National Bank of Dad wishes to inform you as follows:   

This years gift disbursement is adjusted for the cost of living adjustment to our Social Security income.  Since there has been no increase, there is no increase in disbursement planned for Gifting Season 2015.

NBoD Customers may refer to the Social Security website here for current gifting parameters.

Our anticipation is that the increase – if any – for the 2016 season, will be held to a fraction of one percent.  The good news about this is you are able to calculate your NBoD Gift disbursement almost a year in advance.

NBoD customers are alerted to a forthcoming internal accounting change that will take place in 2016.

Effective July 1, 2016, the National Bank of Dad will be implementing a significant change in accounting policies.

Where previously we had used Current Adjusted Gross Income (CAGI) as our calculation basis for gifting, in 2016 we will be transition to the Modified Adjusted Gross Income Crap (MAGIC).

The key difference between these two accounting systems is very simple. Previously-used  AGI-based accounting has reflected income on current-year operations.

MAGIC-based accounting reflects current year income plus an increasing allowance for the accelerated depreciation of NBoD Trustee’s bodies:  This includes changes in eyesight, memory, muscle tone, stamina, and so forth.

Our new MAGIC accounting is also adjusted for your location on Gifting Days.  Checks and EFTs disbursed  to zip codes outside of Anderson County Texas, will be levied a 75% handling charge.  NBoD customers may therefore find it advantageous to visit NBoD headquarters and for this purposed we have a new Airfare Matching Program.  Inquire of the Chief Teller for details. A meal will be provided.

Your NBoD Trustees have implemented numerous cost-savings programs this year to maximize your benefit.  For example:  We are no longer providing accidental birth insurance to Trustees.  We have also ended all political contributions.

Unfortunately, we anticipate that new banking regulations will be invented by the Obama administration in the coming year that will require equal disbursement levels for Middle East refugees and other illegal aliens.

Therefore, we are continuing last year’s special offer of a $200 rebate to all NBoD customers and offspring who change to Black, Hispanic, or Asian surnames.  According to our records, special consideration for Scottish, Danish, Germanic, and Cherokee (1/8) refugees has expired. 

We continue to support name-changing as a revenue and benefit optimizing tool.  The $200 rebate per name-change is available only to families of participating customers.  Changed names may be used to advantage but generally work best 1,000-miles, or more, north of the former Mexico border.

Whatever.

George Ure Jackson Xi Hernandez , Chief Operating Officer.

Elaine Lightfoot Bates- Ure Washington Perez , Chief Teller

Member:  Federal Dad Insurance Corp., Cash Flow Matters

Home, Sick

(Back at the Ranch) For those interested in our gallivanting around the past two weeks: 

We rolled in about  4:45 last night.  Just in time to find out that Elaine’s brother (Panama) had been shipped up to the hospital in Tyler, TX because of a suspected heart issue.

We respectfully request your prayers for his speedy recovery as surgery is planned this morning.  Angio and stent if I’m following; not his first rodeo on this stuff.  I’m not sure if website content is government by HIPAA regs, so forget I said anything.

Bates is in remarkably good spirits about it and quipped that it may seem a bit of an extreme method to get out of eating my Thanksgiving Turkey.  Hmmm…

However, I informed him that since we didn’t do any grocery shopping on the way home, we can push back the turkey for a few days to a week.

For readers (and especially subscribers), yes, this is another example of what we call “the Bates Luck” around here.

Zeus The Cat has also taken ill with a slight cough and he’s being quite lethargic.  So it will be off to the vet Friday for him.

Elaine reported that she’s feeling a bit better this morning, but I’m a little worse for the wear, so with apologies, it will be back to bed as soon as the column is posted.

“Feed a cold and you’ll soon be starving a fever…” seems like good advice to follow.  The turkey will wait…

More tomorrow…

P.S.

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Trouble: As in Turkey

(Amarillo, TX)  Still trying to get back to our ranch-stead in what we call the East Texas Outback, at least eight-hours of driving lies ahead with both of us suffering from the misery of a cold/flu that has dogged us since Las Vegas.

On the way, we have been going back and forth as we travel about what the best personal financial strategies are for the period from now to 10-years out.

And it all comes down to turkey.

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Housing Up–Rate Hike Pressure?

(Albuquerque, NM)  Just out from S&P, Case-Shiller, et al.

New York, November 24, 2015 – S&P Dow Jones Indices today released the latest results for the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices. Data released today for September 2015 show that home prices continued their rise across the country over the last 12 months.

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Coping: Engineering the AfterLife

(Albuquerque, NM)  We have two days left on out adventure and then we will be back to the relative safety of the ranch in the Outback of East Texas.

Since we have been staying many places (and sleeping in many strange beds) the level of “dream activity” has been inconsistent but instructive.

As you know, I have been tinkering with my dream states for a long time.  There seem to be “personal best” periods of the year for me – in the March/April period and again in the period just ending.

Sunday, before leaving Payson, Arizona, for example, I had a dandy which I could label as “engineering the afterlife.

The main idea of it is that since time immemorial, a lot of humans have lived and died.

In fact, with a little research (and getting sidetracked by interesting articles like this one) we find that about 107-billion people have ever lived, since the most recent human hardware and software updates of 50,000 years ago.

Because there are 7-billion people alive today, this means the number of dead people – wherever dead people go – is an impressive 100,000,000,000. (100-billion)

So in this dream, my subconscious was telling me “The afterlife – if real – is a pretty big gathering…”

Looking for answers about the afterlife – from an engineering standpoint – is a bit difficult.

While many of the world’s religions allege to know how it all works, the best evidence of how at least the leading-edge of the afterlife seems to come from studies of people who have been through the near-death experience.  These are called NDE’s for short.

There is a gob of Wikipedia reference work on that topic over here.

In particular, the part of NDE research that I find most interesting is the 4-18.9% recall level of NDEs. 

Two thoughts keep percolating around in my head:

One is that the percentage of people who have recall of NDEs may be roughly the same as the number of people who can recall their dreams when sleeping.  A article of a couple of years ago mentioned that some people recall dreams only a couple of times per month while others recall dreams 5+ times per week.  It will take more research to see how close the “dream recall” is to the “NDE recall” level, but that is one line of inquiry that seems very useful.

The second thought deals with Monday’s column and how some people (see the comments section) report seeing something going on behind their eyelids…but, as in my experience with it so far, it doesn’t seem to be of any understandable/useful benefit.

Which then gets us to looking (as an engineering problem) at what happens at the moment of death and the timeframe when the body floods itself with DMT.  Another Wikipedia extract:

Dr. Rick Strassman, while conducting DMT research in the 1990s at the University of New Mexico, advanced the controversial hypothesis that a massive release of DMT from the pineal gland prior to death or near death was the cause of the near death experience (NDE) phenomenon.

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Fed: Consumption Collapse, Negative Rates

(Payson, AZ)  The Fed is holding a special emergency session today.

The notice on their website says (in part):

It is anticipated that the closed meeting of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System at 11:30 AM on Monday, November 23, 2015, will be held under expedited procedures, as set forth in section 26lb.7 of the Board’s Rules Regarding Public Observation of Meetings, at the Board’s offices at 20th Street and C Streets, N.W., Washington, D.C. The following items of official Board business are tentatively scheduled to be considered at that meeting.

Meeting Date: Monday, November 23, 2015

Matter(s) Considered

1.Review and determination by the Board of Governors of the advance and discount rates to be charged by the Federal Reserve Banks.

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Coping: Seeing Your Personal “Source Code”

(Payson, AZ)  Note to self:  Send a copy of this morning’s column to Dr. Rob, our genius-level friend who is on the leading edge of photobiomodulation.

While some people’s personal “energy” gets turned on by places like Sedona, AZ, I’m not one of them.  For me, Sedona was beautiful (north of the town up to Flagstaff), but spirit-wise, it is just another place.

On the other hand,  the high mountain country around Payson does seem to have quite an impact on my personal awareness. 

This morning I want to share a venture “off the page” as I show you how to “see your own source code and then speculate a bit about what it all MIGHT mean.

This was a purely accidental discovery.

Accessing Your Personal Source Code

Up front:  I didn’t go looking for this.  It just happened first about six-months ago.

I had been sleeping peacefully when I woke up (as people will do now and then) in the middle of the night.

It was 1:52 AM.

I know what time it was because I have a small Indiglo-lit portable alarm clock next to the bed.  Bright bluish-green/.gray background lighting.

I had grabbed it, pressed the snooze-button to turn on the display backlight, and yes, 1:52 AM.

Bright as hell, by the way.  No mistaking anything.  After that, I closed my eyes and started to go back to sleep.

Cue the weirdness:

As I was drifting off to sleep, I was vaguely aware of keeping my internal consciousness softly focused on that white/light gray rectangle of light that was (as any scientist would tell you) retinal afterburn.

A quick note about afterburn:

While many people claim to see auras around people’s faces when they stare at them long enough, they (honestly) claim to see an outline around the person they are looking at.  This is afterburn.

The eyes see something with well-defined edges, and because of the mechanics of how people’s eyes work, they may be tricked – in some cases easily – into seeing an outline of a person’s face when they close their eyes.  Upon opening them again, they may also see what might be interpreted as a “halo” around them.

The effect also works if you can hold your focus on a person’s face for 20-seconds or so.  You will see around people (and objects against a high-contrast background) something of a “halo” evolve.  This may have spiritual aspects to it, but if you look at a person a long while (a minute or longer) and then look at an even surface (like a wall), you will see the outline of their face.

Welcome to retinal afterburn.  >>Many people call this an aura.<<  Because color may vary (based on backgrounds and lighting) all kinds of mystical crap is attributed to it.

Honestly, I don’t buy it.  I’ve seen way too much optical science and I know how to trick the eyes.  That ain’t woo-woo.  What it does mean is that you have become acutely aware of your optical channel…and that may help get down to yours personal source code.

You “source code” is different, however and very, very strange.

The way the phenomena seems to work is as follows:

You must begin in a nearly-asleep state and just ready to flip over into the full sleep mode.  Have to be in a blacked out room, too.  We’re looking to get down in the noise floor of what goes on in your brain.

Second:  You need an even BRIGHT light source to blast your eyes while you are still semi-asleep.

You will apply a very, very bright flash of light,  and then watch the afterburn as you float off toward sleep.

That’s it: You simply watch the rectangle of pretty even afterburn

In my case, as soon as the whitish-green afterburn had faded to a medium/to slightly dark (60%) black if you’re into graphics), a series of symbols started to fly by.  They were being painted on the gray rectangle.

I don’t know if you remember the Matrix screen-saver – where the odd symbols sort of waterfall down, but this was a single line of black letters/symbols and it was flashing as lines of code going by.

It was some seriously weird stuff.

Following that experience, I have only been able to accomplish it a few times since.  But in all cases, it was a) waking up in the middle of the night in a blacked-out room, b) flashing a bright light source (my alarm clock), and finally c) watching the afterburn fade off (in other words looking at the optic nerve input semi-consciously, without getting to intense. 

It only works when not forced and it works best during your normal sleeping cycle (at least it does for me).

I am using the Indiglo lit alarm as my even “light pump” and I haven’t tried to optimize the color spectrum to enhance the effect.  I’m guessing that the duration of afterburn (or dissolve rate) will vary based on colors.  I don’t  have a precise color measurement of the Indiglo but using the conversion tool over here, I would put it somewhere around  the 477 nm range – which translates to rgb(0,200, 255),Hex: #00c8ff.

What I would expect is that if you pump (light input) in the 500-620 nm range, since that seems to “pump” my eyes very well.

The whole field of photobiomodulation is just now opening up as a new branch of science.  In a Peoplenomics.com report, I mentioned a company up in Washington state that owns some key technology in photobiomodulation as relates to halting (or seriously slowing) macular degeneration.  A discussion of how photobiomodulation works in the clinical setting may be found on the company website over here.

I won’t go into a detailed discussion of how this works, but the main point is that light-pumping at a certain mix of frequencies, apparently tells the body to do certain beneficial things.

The effect we’re talking about this morning is not a direct application of that, but when I first saw symbology streaming by in the afterburn dissolve, it was a genuine WTF?

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Traveler’s Prepping School

Yes, the column was late this morning, but for reasons that you’ll understand in a minute. And it all revolves around what I call traveler’s prepping issues.

After a few headlines, we’ll go through some of the shortcomings in our own travel preps and offer a checklist of items for the “totally prepped” auto adventure.

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